(We now have a second Blog – sail3oceans – Panama)  cont……

 

20th June 2005 – 17th July  (U.S.A. to Venezuela)

Beneteau 473 – 48′

Dave was asked by the owner of the marina to fly to Charleston and deliver a new Beneteau 473  to Venezuela.  Dave flew to the States on the 3rd June to get the Beneteau ready.  I had to get the book finished so we worked till 3 in the morning for 4 nights and during the day I went to see clients and got the book done and gave it to the printer on the  16th.  I got our boat all secure, lifted the dinghy, closed sea-cocks etc. and packed and on the 20th I flew to Caracas, then to Miami.  I   met  Lynda and Neal  who we last saw 4 years ago in Fort Lauderdale, they came to meet me at the airport and took me to the Princess Hotel in Miami.   On the 21st I flew to Atlanta, then missed my connecting flight to Charleston, due to having a cup of coffee first.  I got another flight 2 hours later, so more coffee, and Dave met me at the airport, and a taxi to St Barts marina in Charleston.  The boat still wasn’t ready and I was dead tired from the book work  and the traveling.

Charleston - South Carolina

Relaxed for a day, then we went shopping and walked round the city.  We planned to leave on the Saturday but weather was expected so we decided to wait another few days,  just as well, as the wind blew and found the rigging still to be loose which made a terrible noise down bellow.  So on Monday Dave and a guy from Beneteau tightened the rigging and taped up a plastic tube over the shrouds.

 

    I spent Monday strolling down the  waterfront and main shopping area and the market.  A very pretty town, many old houses but  well  maintained and clean.

The Town Market

Beneteau 473

Santa Anna

On Tuesday the 28th, we left the fuel dock and motored out of Charleston, no wind so motored for 2 days and a night, then got some wind, 5-10knots and full sail.  The boat was fast in light wind and flat seas.  The second evening out the (new) auto-pilot broke so we had to hand steer.  No wind again on the 3rd day and motored all day and picked up a very thick rope round the prop, Dave reversed and managed to cut the long rope off.  On the 4th night we went into a huge squall, 20 knots wind and increased to 40 knots with  pouring rain which lasted for about 2 hours.

Good Sailing

Sailing to St.Marten

The following few days we had the same conditions, lovely sailing when wind and then no wind  and swam in the warm water.  After sailing about 250 miles we changed course and headed for St. Maarten as  Dave had ordered a part for the auto-pilot, to be sent there. About 3 days from St Maarten we had to beat all the way there, 15 to 20knot winds and 2 mtr swells.  After 11 days we arrived in Simpson bay and we were in  time for the last bridge opening and  went to the Simpson Bay Marina.

Mandy, the marina manageres,  had the part and Dave repaired the auto-pilot on Sunday.  On Monday I took a bus to Philipsburg and just walked round the town and beach area.

                                                                                                                                           Front  Street

The afternoon I walked to the airport, and watched the planes land and take off over the main road.

Views To Simpson Bay

On the 11th July, we left with  the last bridge opening and set sail for Venezuela.  We had about 10-15knots wind, flat seas and doing 7-9 knots, really fast good sailing on a reach.  The same conditions during the day and the following night, wonderful fast sailing.  Dave was in contact with the people in Charleston via Sat Phone everyday for weather updates as well as Ricardo in Caracas.  Dave phoned Ricardo and he said that Emily, the next hurricane was on its way, and headed for Grenada and Venezuela, and the owner,  advised us not to go to Blanquilla Island but to turn North, away from the track of this Hurricane.  Dave then phoned the states and they said the same.

I was quite sure the storm would not go to Venezuela, but we had to do as the owner requested and turn and go north.  As time went on the swells got bigger and bigger.  We were about 180 miles from Puerto La Cruz and probably would have made it in.  The wind increased and we shortened sail,  swells from all sides, and we continued to beat to the North.  After motoring and sailing for about 130 miles we decided to heave too and sit it out.  The following Day, Dave phoned again and was told “Emily” was moving West North West, so we turned and headed back for Blanquilla island,  and as we sailed the seas got smaller and the wind dropped and we arrived in Blanquilla on Saturday the 15th   July.

Blanquilla island

Georgina

                  Dave and I swam ashore and met  Georgina & (Boo) who was paddling to us in a canoe, from  “Morning Star” which was anchored in front of us.   They had engine trouble, lost all their fuel, and the coast guard took them to an anchorage on the West side while “Emily” skirted the area.  They had 10ft seas, broke their bow-roller,  they were secured by 4 lines of which 2 broke.  They went back to the anchorage, got fuel from the coast guard, and lost that fuel too due to a broken fuel line.  Their genoa was in shreds and they said they wanted to go to Margarita to do repairs but we advised them to rather go to Puerto La Cruz.

Boo had  made some repairs again to the fuel line and they left at 1pm and we left at 4pm.,  we stayed in contact with them, the fuel line was holding, and they got extra fuel.  We soon passed them and had a fast sail down the western end of Margarita, and arrived off La Borracha the following morning and motored to the marina.

  This new 47’  Beneteau was fast on flat water and on a reach and downwind, but to windward it pounded due to the flat bottom, and it was very noisy below decks.

Beneteau 473 - Delivered to PLC

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